Showtime by Narrelle M Harris
Showtime by Narrelle M Harris is another of Twelfth Planet Press’s Twelve Planets collections. The stories in it are thematically linked — supernatural creatures such as vampires, zombies and ghosts feature — but there isn’t a linking setting or common characters as in Nightsiders, Bad Power or Love and Romanpunk.
The general theme throughout the four stories is of subverting some of the tropes associated with the aforementioned supernatural creatures. There’s either a bit of a twist or something upfront that’s a bit unusual in each of them. They’re also all ultimately about families in different ways. I really enjoyed all of the stories and I would highly recommend this collection to anyone with even a passing interest in vampires, zombies or ghosts. The fact that two of the stories were also set in Australia only added to my enjoyment (of the other two, if you’re wondering, one’s set in a kitchen which could be almost anywhere and the other is set in Hungary).
Stalemate is the story set in a kitchen. It’s a story about family and about family fights and how the same fight can feel never-ending.
Thrall is the story set in Hungary. It’s about an ancient vampire that hasn’t quite gotten with the modern times (and has discovered that YouTube videos have no problem capturing his likeness, unlike good old silver nitrate film). A story about how the old isn’t always compatible with the new.
The Truth About Brains
The truth about brains is that one day your little brother can accidentally get turned into a zombie. And then you don’t necessarily want him around when he’s getting increasingly smelly in the Australian summer. That doesn’t stop your mum from making you take him with you every time you go out, though…
The titular story is about a (human) librarian and a vampire going to the Melbourne Show. If you’ve read Narrelle M Harris’s The Opposite of Life (I haven’t yet), then you might recognise the two main characters.
Overall, it’s hard to pick a favourite story as there are different nice things to recommend about each of them. As I said, I very much enjoyed this collection and I highly recommend it.
4.5 / 5 stars